Steps to building a sustainable college website
- Learn the rules - At this point, don't spend too much time thinking about what you want to do. Instead, figure out what you have rights for, what you could get rights for, and what you will never have.
- Build a content management system - Even if you don't want to use all the information, get everything into there. Work with everyone to get it into their routine. Make their lives easier, not harder. Include online submissions, workflow, and archiving.
- Discuss and plan what the site should accomplish - Include high-flying goals about who your audience is, what their needs are, what success would look like.
- Brainstorm how to make those ideas happen - No idea is too out-there. Shoot for the sky and get as much involvement as possible.
- Scope and bring it to a gel - Figure out what is possible and mold it into something that feels like a cohesive foundation to build from.
- Build - Easy.
College site ideas
Big Hit - Have one main topic a week. Usually the front page story. Bring in as many sources and supporting items as possible. Photo slideshow, message board, calendar, poll, etc.
Weblog - Most college newspapers are weekly, but the internet is a 24x7 medium. Have the staff write briefs as they come up, integrate in the calendar and police blotter. Make it a daily must-read for the students.
E-commerce - Integrate the business side in, offering free classifieds, the ability to upgrade, etc. Offer to have parents subscribe to an email version of the paper (pdf) or receive a regular subscription.